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Fixing, But Not Changing

Posted Oct 30, 2012

Skelton remains quarterback as Cardinals try to snap losing streak

Cornerback Michael Adams can't bring down San Francisco punt returner Ted Ginn Monday night.

Ken Whisenhunt isn’t the type of coach to look into a TV camera and boast about starting the season 4-0, and he’s not the type to blow a gasket venting about a four-game losing streak.

So it wasn’t surprising that Tuesday, about 12 hours after the Cardinals lost, 24-3, to the San Francisco 49ers on “Monday Night Football,” Whisenhunt said his hand isn’t on the panic button.

“I don’t know what kind of message it sends when you do that,” Whisenhunt said. “I don’t think these games have been a function of not being prepared. It’s not that we haven’t seen things that we’re ready for. It’s that we haven’t made the plays in the situation.

“We’ve missed guys that are open. We haven’t caught balls. We haven’t tackled guys in the field, but we have made some plays. We’ve made enough plays to win four games. We just got to make more plays to win some more games.”

With the season’s second half starting Sunday at Green Bay, the Cardinals (4-4) have a short week to fix the issues that plagued them Monday night – everything that Whisenhunt mentioned.

But wholesale changes aren’t on the horizon, Whisenhunt said, even as sports radio stratosphere lit up with talk of backup quarterback Ryan Lindley getting playing time ahead of starter John Skelton.

“I’m sure there are a lot of fans saying a lot of things because we’re all frustrated with where we are,” Whisenhunt said. “I don’t know where the Lindley stuff is coming from (but) we’re going to continue to stay the course.”

That doesn’t preclude the Cards’ ship from changing direction in the near future.

“The way our quarterback situation’s been going, probably Lindley will get a chance to play because it seems like we’ve had some issues there,” the coach said. “But right now, we’re staying with John.”

Tackling was a bigger issue on Monday, Whisenhunt said. Five-yard plays on third down, which, if stopped, would’ve forced a punt, went for long gains and first down. Running back Frank Gore slithered out of creases. Open field plays, such as the catch-and-run for a touchdown by San Francisco receiver Randy Moss, weren’t stopped.

“We didn’t tackle well in space and that’s what hurt us,” Whisenhunt said.

Whisenhunt, however, was adamant that any improvements weren’t going to happen simply because the coaches blew their whistles louder. The motivation, instead, will have to come from within the locker room, from the locker next door.

“We’ll have to get players on the other players,” he said. “Peer pressure plays a part in that. You got to get your leaders to do that.”

Not all was lost Monday night, the coach added.

The Cardinals slowed Gore to 55 yards on 16 carries and matched the 49ers with four sacks. Whisenhunt was pleased with how the Cardinals’ interior defense wrapped up Gore early, but throughout his Tuesday press conference, Whisenhunt kept returning to missed tackles.

The only way to fix it, Whisenhunt said, was to get back on the practice field.

“It wasn’t that we got beat as much as it was we didn’t make the blocks because we didn’t take the right technique step or we didn’t get it done,” Whisenhunt said. “Things we did in practice that we worked hard on, we didn’t get done in the game.

“I think that’s the message this week. We got to get it right on the practice field and we got to carry that over to the game field.”

EXTRA POINTS

Whisenhunt said RB Beanie Wells is on target to return to practice next week, the first week he is able to after going on the Injured Reserve-Return list. Wells cannot play before the Nov. 25 game against the Rams. ...

The Cardinals promoted linebacker Zack Nash from the practice squad Tuesday, releasing fullback Reagan Maui'a to make room on the roster. To fill Nash's practice squad spot, the Cards signed rookie linebacker Tim Fugger, a seventh-round draft pick of the Colts.


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